Asteroid 2011 MD passes through the Earth’s GPS satellite network

By Chris McDowall 27/06/2011 2


Tomorrow the ten metre wide Asteroid 2011 MD will pass within 12,000 km of Earth. How close is that? Well, it’s close enough that it will travel through the network of GPS satellites that circle the Earth. Pasquale Tricarico, a Research Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, has created a series of animations describing the event’s geometry.

I have embedded my favourite visualisation from the series below. It depicts the encounter from the point of view of the asteroid. Amazing.

Thanks to Michele Bannister for sharing the link.


2 Responses to “Asteroid 2011 MD passes through the Earth’s GPS satellite network”

  • 10m wide, less than 12,000km? Awesome!
    Hopefully it won’t take out anything important…
    I wonder if it would be possible to get a probe to ‘hitch a ride’ on it as it passes through? Free ride through the solar system!

  • Amazing visualisation! Great idea and implementation.
    And a GIF. I wouldn’t have thought that a GIF can perform in such a way.

    Would be curious to implement something like that in ActionScript (Flash) or even WebGL or HTML5/canvas.